Skip to main content

Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

See other formats

YON   HUMBOLDT.                217
Ing plantation, whence he watched with a telescope
how far Humboldt and the others would be a"ble to
_ The   expedition   moved   on   towards  the   eastern
highest points of the Silla, which terminates in two
round points.    From, the foot of the waterfall Cha-
caike to a height of 6000 feet, they found only cow-
pastures, with two small lily-like plants with yellow-
flowers, and some brambles.    Huniboldt searched in
vain for a wild rose, of which, indeed, he could only
find one specimen in South America.    Their journey
now became very arduous on account of the fog, and
because in climbing the steep and slippery ascent they
had to make use of their hands as well as their feet*
At a height of more than 5500 feet, the sight of a
palm forest in a mountain pass formed a surprising
contrast to the pastures in the valley; nowhere did
Humboldt find such a variety of plants on so com-
paratively  small  a space,  as in this palm forest of
Pejoal, whose most interesting feature was abxish from
10 to 15 feet high, of the family of the umbelliferous-
flowers,  which the Creoles called incense  (incienso).
While Hximboldt was examining the flowers, the sky
grew darker and darker, the thermometer sank below
eleven degrees, which, in the torrid zone,  causes an
unpleasant degree of cold*    Through groups of Alpine
plants—so called by Humboldt—they again came to
a pasture-field (savannah), an4 climbed over a portion
of the western point, to descend into a cleft between
the two summits, called the saddle.    The luxurious,
vegetation here made it extremely difficult to find a
path, which had to be hewn with knives and axes,
From time to time the clouds separated, and the tra-
vellers then saw the eastern point of the mountain,,
'but then, a dense mist suddenly again obscured the
view.     At every step the danger was  incurred   of
coming upon the ledge of the tremendous precipice,
and falling down 6000 feet into the sea*    A halt was-
made, the negroes soon arrived with victuals, but the
meal was very sparing, as they had only olives and a